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New Year: The Virtual Trek Continues - January 1, 2012

Sunday, January 01, 2012

As part of my latest trek, I'm going to try and blog weekly on my progress across the country. It will help keep me accountable.

The “NY To LA Or Bust! Virtual Trek”, got off the ground on December 28 and ended December 30, 2011 for a total of 4.74 miles. Nothing earth-shattering I know, but it's a start. I'm doing this in 100-mile chunks, and right now hope to be in Pennsylvania just past Stoney Hollow Road, east of Fern Ridge Bog Preserve (why not?) by mid-March. We’ll call it a birthday celebration if I’m on schedule. And I hope to be!

I'm also going to try and blog about areas of interest as if I were a tourist, just to keep it more interesting.

Where I am from in New York, the area is steeped in history, having, at various times, been settled by the Dutch, as well as earlier by various tribes of American Indians. Names of streets and area subdivisions reflect these origins. The purchase of Manhattan for $24.00 in trinkets, supposedly took place a stone’s throw from my house.

Inwood Park, nestled in upper Manhattan where the Hudson and Harlem Rivers cross, is located on the other side of the Hudson River Bridge, which I just “crossed” into Manhattan. The park, called by local historian, James Renner, the “last remaining primeval forest in Manhattan”, has 196 acres, and still bears arrowheads from the time of its previous Indian tenants, who lived in the caves found in the park and fished the local waters. My father collected them as a young boy, and in his drawer there is a box of them. The park has many hiking and jogging trails.

[View facing west from the park: The Henry Hudson Bridge is in the background]

Bordering the park, according to historian Renner, are remnants of huts and oven pits used by Royalist forces during their occupation of the area during the Revolutionary War. In the nineteenth century, wealthy landowners made the park their country residence.

The Hudson River borders the park on the west. It is named for Henry Hudson who discovered it and traveled it trying to find a passageway to the Pacific, only to end up in Albany where the waters grew too shallow, forcing him to go back. During the American Bicentennial in 1976, the river was flooded with “tall ships” which created an incredible pageantry, and many people lined the river banks to watch the ships plow up the Hudson. Quite spectacular, indeed!

Currently, I am traversing, virtually, the George Washington Bridge, an elegant span completed in 1931. At the time of its opening it was the longest main span in the world. It still is beautiful when it’s lit up at night.

This week we’re heading into Fort Lee, New Jersey. I hope to blog at the end of each week, where this adventure is taking me. It’s going to be a very long trip. Anything to keep the motivation going!
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